Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Clive Bibby: The Emperor fiddles while Rome burns

For those of us living at the epicentre of all the floods that have ravaged our communities since and including Cyclone Bola in 1988, surveying the damage to livelihoods and mental well-being of residents becomes a process similar to grieving for a lost loved one.

Immediately after the initial shock, you go through a period of numbness that only recedes when help arrives in the form of those who genuinely want to provide the assistance in a form that could make a difference.

But sadly, experience tells us that too often the ones who have the capacity to help in a meaningful way are dismissive of the local advice from those best placed to make comparative assessments of the damage caused during each climate event but, more importantly, comparative assessments of the Local and Central Government responses after each disaster.

It goes without saying that these authorities have a responsibility to seek that advice in order to formulate efficient and workable plans for the recovery.

However, this is not a time when the “powers that be” can remain fixated on designing a recovery based on taxpayer dollars that will shield only them from any blame and ensures their own political survival. Tragically, we are the ones living in the real world.

We need help that only Government can provide - we need it now and it needs to be in a form that is fit for purpose.

Yet here at the coalface where the devastation has to be seen to be believed, we are dealing with politicians who are shedding crocodile tears while ignoring the people who have the background knowledge that could ensure appropriate measures are put in place for the immediate recovery and recommend policies that will go some way to avoid these disasters happening again.

Most of us accept that these cyclones are related to global warming but our response to this phenomenon and the attendant climate events needs to be based on adopting practical ideas for change in the way we do things in the future rather than concentrating on the Government’s obsession with its idealogical objective of reducing our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

It beggars belief that Cabinet ministers (4 of whom were in Gisborne after cyclone Hale) are still procrastinating about what needs to happen on the ground in the face of overwhelming evidence that their ideological goals can still be achieved without reverting to the selective punitive measures currently being imposed on the Agriculture industry.

Unfortunately these same politicians have rejected local calls for an enquiry into the forestry industry, offering instead a review which would no doubt absolve them all from blame.

Not only would an enquiry get to the truth including exposing options for much needed changes to our response to climate change but it would also uncover the disastrous effects of current policy that are nonsensical and represent a betrayal of monumental proportions.

Of course it might be expecting a bit much to believe politicians are capable of doing the right thing when their own survival is threatened but we can but live in hope. It is perhaps ironic to suggest that the one thing that might save their necks in these circumstances is for them to lead the way in accepting and directing the change that is needed.

But in order for those changes to be effective, they need to be on our terms - not theirs!

I wouldn’t bet the house on these clowns being brave enough to own up to their own   responsibilities. Defeat at the polls might make a difference but probably not!

But Luxon and Co will have to promise to do things that they might not want to consider either.

We’ll see!

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.


Armand said...

Once again we see this weather event blamed on climate change with no scientific evidence provided to support the claim. NZ has had a number of calamitous weather events over the years, and those of us who have achieved many years on the planet remember 1958 Waikato floods, 1988 Bola, the storm that sunk the Wahine, to name a few. I have seen to date, only a very minute discussion of the effects of the Tonga volcano's eruption which sent millions of tonnes of water into the atmosphere. It would be nice if all the politicians who believe so solidly in climate change as the reason for everything changing in today's world, would allow an open and indepth debate on the topic.There are many eminent scientist in the world today who would be prepared to marshal the facts and debate with the doomsayers presented regularly in all forms of the politically driven media.
In the last few days we see what happens when a politician is honest to state publicly that she had yet to see the science behind all the claims being made that the climate would in the foreseeable future destroy mankind and women kind.

Anonymous said...

Argue as one might about anthropogenic climate change, but us all (in NZ) getting on bicycles will not one jot of difference make. We need to be pragmatic and adapt to the reality of what history tells us. That said, one of those 'adaptions', which is a much more recent phenomenon, is the urgent need to address forestry slash.

Rob Beechey said...

The Truth does not mind being questioned but a Lie does not like being challenged. The mainstream media has that in spades forbidding debate to challenge the biggest lie ever told. Are we not constantly being reminded that we dare not point out the obvious that the Emperor is stark naked for fear of being ridiculed by the political ignorant. What in the world is wrong to seek empirical evidence that man made co2 causes dangerous climate change? But the political ignoramuses are prepared to waste billions of tax payer dollars to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Dear readers, have you ever witnessed such a performance that placed New Zealand on momentary standstill when MP Maureen Pugh asked the question. How could she possibly not see that the Emperor was wearing the finest threads in all the kingdom?

Ewan McGregor said...

This latest cyclone is a king hit for a large portion of the east coast of the North Island and it will take years to fully recover it. What are our options now? There are no simple answers to these rain bombs that are becoming increasingly frequent – no less than three so far this year, and maybe a fourth on the way. It is just too easy to blame the Government, and certainly I don’t envy it with this challenge. Besides, to sheet home the blame for this current Government is unfair. What could they have done in 5 years to mitigate such a climate event?
Actually, Bola back in 1988 was a wakeup call, and we have had 5 governments since then. The lesson then was that steep geologically fragile country was unsuited for pastoral farming, which previous governments, right up to the Muldoon administration, had encourage farming settlement and development with bush clearance. After Bola much of that land, with government assistance, was converted to commercial forestry, being radiata, by far the most productive and economic species. Much of that land planted immediately after Bola is now on its second rotation and has contributed to Gisborne’s and New Zealand’s economy. But what was not anticipated is the challenges of extraction from this steep land. That really became glaringly obvious with the 2018 storm, and has not been satisfactorily addressed since. That’s glaringly obvious.
So, what is the future of this country? Retired to natives is commonly offered as its future, but easier said than done. Establishing natives over a hectare or two where committed people plant and tender them is one thing. Thousands of hectares of steep back country is quite another. In any case, this land is privately owned. Who pays for it to be converted to non-economic use. Carbon credits will help, but will be insufficient, if not uncertain, on its own.
There is no doubt that, like previous catastrophic events that have affected parts of the country, the Government will need to give very substantial assistance to those hit by this disaster, but it will bring little political joy to take it from the national community by way of taxation or borrowing. It will hardly endear the government to the cause by Clive Bibby suggesting they are motivated by “[ensuring] their own political survival”, or that they “shedding crocodile tears”. How about “disastrous effects of current policy that are nonsensical”, or “these clowns being brave enough to own up to their own responsibilities”.
There is no place for insults and denigration in the debate we must have as we go forward. There is great good will out there as people start the unenviable task of recovery, many of them volunteers. That’s the spirit that will see us through.

Clive Bibby said...

Why am l not surprised. A rather long winded buildup getting to what you really wanted to say which is really just more of the same.
Oh well, three out of four ain’t bad.

DeeM said...

The main reason for the exceptionally wet summer and extreme rainfall, as predicted by a number of esteemed climatologists and meteorologists is the Tongan volcanic eruption which pumped more CO2 into the atmosphere in 5 days than NZ emits in a year, though that's not actually the reason.
It also pumped a huge quantity of water vapour (the strongest and by far most abundant greenhouse gas on the planet, by the way) into the atmosphere of the south Pacific leading to perfect high precipitation conditions.

We haven't had a year anything like this for ages. That's because it's a very rare event, influenced by a non-climatic factor, a volcanic eruption.
If it was due to climate change we would have been seeing these record rainfall events happening for decades.

Let's see what next summer brings. Hot and dry, probably.

Ewan McGregor said...

My comment was aimed at landuse change, not climate change, though the two are inextricably linked, and I think that humans causing climate change is undeniable. In the context of this opinion piece, it was Clive Bibby that claimed that “these cyclones are related to global warming”, which was quite a change of view on his part, though an agreeable one.

DeeM said...

You state that "humans causing climate change is undeniable". A very strong statement.
I don't want to put words in Clive's mouth, but I suspect he was referring to natural global warming.
I happen to disagree with that because as all the empirical data demonstrates cyclones are NOT becoming more frequent or more intense. As is the case with ALL extreme weather events.
Our modern day media report these incidents with the zeal of climate doom-sayers and that is why the public, including yourself, have the impression of an approaching climate apocalypse. The data does not support the hype.

Please provide evidence that the climate change we are experiencing, and has been going on for millions of years, is caused by humans and is not natural.
I'm after empirical data and evidence.

Look forward to your reply.

Clive Bibby said...

The changes of opinion have not been on my part but of those who are increasingly becoming aware that they backed the wrong horse - and not just about global warming (climate change) - almost every dumb idea that we have been force fed by left wing, woke politicians.
Our day is coming.

Ewan McGregor said...

Happy to oblige DeeM. But first, you identify yourself. Until then, no deal.

DeeM said...

Since we don't know each other, and I have no idea whether Ewan McGregor is your real name, I fail to see what this achieves.

Unless, of course, you have NO data/evidence. Then it is obvious.

Do you want to prove your point, Ewan, or not?

Ewan McGregor said...

Take my word for it; Ewan McGregor is my real name and I live at 87 Hautope Branch Road, R D 1, Waipawa. All my life I have only made comment, public or otherwise, under that name. This means that I am accountable for it. That’s as it should be.

DeeM said...

I guess we won't be seeing your evidence then.
Which does seem to fly in the face of you being "accountable" for your comments.

Ewan McGregor said...

But you, DeeM, won’t even account for your very existence. I have no intention of dancing to the demands of a faceless person. Incidentally, I have written often over many years on landuse issues and the impact of changing weather patterns. In every case, with one exception, they have been accepted in full for publication. That exception was the one I submitted about a year ago to Breaking Views, though was happily published by the Gisborne Herald. There’s no point in continuing this exchange.

DeeM said...

Thought so.
Thou doth protest too much, Ewan.

If using a lame excuse makes you feel vindicated go right ahead.